Global devices

The applause has died down from the FAA's decision a month ago allowing the use of portable electronic devices in flight, but it's picking up in Europe, where the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it is poised to follow with a similar new rule, possibly within days.

A representative of the EASA, a sort of multinational FAA for the E.U., was on the advisory panel that helped shape the FAA decision, and the two bodies have a history of cooperation on technical matters, so in some aviation quarters this result was both hoped for and expected.

Judging by the EASA's statement on the matter, it will pretty much follow the FAA's lead and establish procedures for allowing the airlines of the E.U. to permit gate-to-gate usage, with the proviso that bulky laptops will have to be stowed for take-off and landing.

Outside of the E.U., however, it may fall to individual nations and airlines around the world to take up the issue piecemeal, because there does not seem to be a single global entity to make this happen everywhere.

The good news is that the FAA's approach stands a good chance of becoming the de facto global standard. The less good news is that it may take a while.
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